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Pack bats turn cold in loss at Air Force

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The Nevada Wolf Pack left a possible victory on the bases Friday afternoon at Falcon Field.

The Wolf Pack stranded eight runners on base and wasted numerous scoring opportunities in a frustrating 3-2 loss to the Air Force Falcons in a game that lasted just 2:14. The loss drops the Wolf Pack to 23-19 overall and 13-9 in the Mountain West while Air Force, which has now won eight consecutive home games, improves to 16-20 and 6-16.

Four of the Falcons' six Mountain West victories have come against UNLV (three) and the Pack. Air Force swept UNLV in a three-game series in Colorado on April 17-19.

The Wolf Pack swept Air Force in three games at Peccole Park March 21-23, outscoring the Falcons 17-4 in the series. The Pack is now 7-3 against Air Force over the past two seasons, winning all three Mountain West three-game series.

Air Force scored more runs in the first inning on Friday (three) than it did in any of its three games at Peccole Park in March. Tyler Saleck's two-run, two-out double was the key hit in the first inning for Air Force off Pack starter Michael Fain.

Fain allowed three hits, two walks and three runs in the first inning. The sophomore, though, settled down nicely and didn't allow a run on four hits and a walk over the next 6.1 innings. He left the game with one out in the eighth inning.

The Wolf Pack took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first off Air Force starter Cameron White. Kyle Hunt was hit by a pitch, stole second and later scored on a passed ball. The Wolf Pack, though, left Austin Byler in scoring position in the inning as Bryce Barger grounded out and Trenton Brooks struck out.

Leaving runners on base, however, was a Pack problem all afternoon.

Jordan Devencenzi grounded into two rally-killing double plays to end the fourth and eighth innings. The bases were loaded in the fourth and two runners were on base in the eighth. Byler also fanned to end the seventh inning with a runner on second and grounded out with two runners on base to end the fifth.

The Wolf Pack cut Air Force's lead to 3-2 with a run in the sixth as Barger scored on a ground out by Devencenzi. Brooks, though, was thrown out at third on Devencenzi's ground out, wasting another scoring chance.

Colby Blueberg got the final two outs in the eighth in relief of Fain. Fain took the loss and is now 4-4 this season.

White earned the win to improve to 4-7. He allowed seven hits and a walk while fanning three. All nine Pack hits were singles. Bo Wilson pitched a scoreless eighth inning despite giving up singles to Brooks and Scott Kaplan and Nathan Stanford tossed a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save of the year.

Brooks had three hits and Kaplan had two for the Pack.

The three-game series continues Saturday (noon) and Sunday (11 a.m.).

The Wolf Pack returns to Peccole Park on May 6 to face UC Davis in a non-league game. The six-game homestand May 6-13 will conclude the Pack's home season.

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